Arn't I A Woman?: The Stigmatization of Mental Illness



Dec 20, 2011

The Stigmatization of Mental Illness

I have a personality disorder. I wrestle with depression pretty hardcore. I have been in therapy for a good while and I am acutely aware of my emotions, how I feel versus how a "normal" person feels. I don't know if it's genetic, environmental, or both, but probably both. This is something I have felt since I have been consciously aware of who I am. I also know that mental disorders are highly stigmatized in American society. I can't shoot the shit with mental disorders like I can race relations. There's too much that I don't know about it. All I know is my own reality. I do know that I am super emotional, and slight  things affect me very heavily. I can't say more than other people because I don't know their reality. I know that I try very hard to relate to other people and understand who they are and where they are coming from. I know that I may react to things more intensely than people who don't suffer from depression or some type of mental disorder. This makes life difficult for me and creates a feeling of disconnect. I wonder why I experience life in a different manner than other people. But this is all I have and for the time being, all I can do is attempt to talk about how "crazy" I am. There's a really awesome episode of Inside the Actor's Studio with Dave Chapelle where he says "You don't call people crazy. It's dismissive." Which is like supremely true. I'm crazy in that I have unbalanced emotions, my interactions with other people are questionable, and my brain doesn't fucking produce dopamine and serotonin in regular balanced levels. That shit is real. Some peoples's brains just don't produce the correct amounts of chemicals that they need to at least not be so emotional and weird and stuff. But I'm really not crazy. real talk crazy is having no grasp on reality. I'm not crazy just because my experience differs from yours. But I do have issues with my brain, and interacting with people. That doesn't mean that my Doctor prescribes me a bunch of medication to dope me up. And that doesn't even mean that I am in some weird grey area of craziness where I am super crazy but still super functional. I suffer from a disease/disorder but I am not an anomaly. I am a normal human being that for whatever reason has long term biological and environmental issues that are both out of my control and very aware in my thoughts. The point is, many people, especially young people, and probably some of your good friends, are struggling with depression, anxiety disorders, and other mental diseases. We need to create a real dialogue about these things and attempt to understand their origins because when you really get to the core of it, a LOT more people than you think suffer from at least one of these issues. And when we tell someone they are crazy because we don't understand them, it very strictly mandates behavior. This is not an excuse to do or say whatever you want to the detriment or exploitation of others. But just like a cancer that continues to grow without treatment, mental disorders, left untreated and unnoticed by society, will only stunt the growth of its peoples who suffer directly and/or indirectly.

1 comment:

  1. i wrote one too. crazies unite.


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Sojourner Truth

Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. I think that 'twixt the negroes of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what's all this here talking about?

That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain't I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain't I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man - when I could get it - and bear the lash as well! And ain't I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain't I a woman?

Then they talk about this thing in the head; what's this they call it? [member of audience whispers, "intellect"] That's it, honey. What's that got to do with women's rights or negroes' rights? If my cup won't hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn't you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?

Then that little man in black there, he says women can't have as much rights as men, 'cause Christ wasn't a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.

If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back , and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.

Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain't got nothing more to say.

Sojourner Truth

Delivered 1851 at the Women's Convention

Akron, Ohio